This hors d’oeuvres or side dish from Inge Kramarz’s 1972 The Balkan Cookbook is delightful comfort that combines potatoes, cheese, smoked bacon, and dill. In its original language of Yugoslavian/Croatian, it is listed as “musaka od krumpira” or ‘potato moussaka’. A moussaka being a kind of European casserole dish similar to a shepherd’s pie or eggplant parmigiana.
Attribute to the former country of Yugoslavia in the book, there is a secondary point of origin listed as Dalmatia which narrows the historical range of the dish. Dalmatia being a coastal region of Croatia that hugs the eastern shore beside the Adriatic sea. I believe that this dish was supposed to cook down into a kind of cake, however in my particular rendition of the dish that didn’t quite materialize. Probably due to the relatively brief 15-20 minute cooking time suggested. So, if you would like it to be more a uniform cake consistency, just up the cooking time to something more like 45 minutes to an hour. Another note is that the original recipe called for “sheep’s cheese”. From what I can gather this is probably a type of Balkan cheese sometimes referred to as ‘kaimak’ that is probably of a similar consistency to chevre. For this dish, I decided to go with crème fraiche and was quite content to do so.
2 lbs potatoes
6 tbsp butter
2 tbsp bread crumbs
1/2 lb crème fraiche
1/4 lb smoked bacon
1 bunch of dill, chopped
- Peel potatoes, slice into fairly thick slices and then boil in salted water until tender.
- Grease a casserole dish with some of the butter and coat it in half the bread crumbs.
- Using the remaining butter, cook the crème fraiche until simmering.
- Chop the bacon and fry until crisp.
- Combine all the ingredients together, season with salt and pepper and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes to an hour depending on desired consistency.